Multiculturalism and Cultural Integration at the Workplace

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A current thought in many HR related departments is that although acquiring international talent may be important to grow and broaden the company, the cultural integration process of internationals can be very turbulent and a lot of efforts would be needed to ensure it.

It is an expertise not many companies have, but it can be easy to build. We talked to Carolina Figueiredo, our Global Coordinator in Tata Consultancy Services, an IT-based Indian company and an AIESEC partner, that has an international internship program established, to understand more about it.

How did your integration process go as a Brazilian working for an Indian company?

At first, I got some shocks in my working environment on how to make things flow easily. In Brazil, as much as we know tha interpersonal relationships are important to guarantee a good experience, in India they are kind of crucial to your daily routine. Who you are and how well you relate to your workmates define where you stand in both your team and company, dictate how people respond to your efforts and buy your ideas. It’s kind of subtle, actually, but once I realized it, everything went well.

What elements from TCS’ organizational culture helped your integration into their workplace?

TCS is a company that works really well with international talent. We own a value of respecting the individual. Therefore, there are many initiatives to integrate the associates, and provide a high quality experience – work related or not. The simple fact of having breakout rooms aiming for cultural integration, in which you can have coffee, play games or simply chill is something that was already important for me. But they also have further initiatives, like marathons, CSR campaigns, yoga classes, food festivals – all to remember that work-life balance is super important to us employees.

What piece of advice would you give to other companies about culturally integrating international talent?

The first thing global companies need to understand is that with this new generation of young professionals, there’s no such thing as absolute cultural integration. Fresh employees can’t just be obligated to comply to social and working rules, especially the ones that distinguish from their own personal beliefs. Organizations must be open and flexible to accept new kinds of perspectives, behaviors and working styles, it can mean progress and even survival, on these times of super fast changes.

It was very well put by Carolina, that integration is a two-lane road: it sums up both the efforts from the international young talent, to be adaptative towards the company culture, and the company itself that fits one’s multiculturalism and different beliefs, adding up to their culture as well.

A maxim is that companies and employees can only gain from the diversity that comes with any cultural integration. AIESEC is just the right organization to work with and fasten the process of acquiring international talent and build a dynamic environment in your company.


What are you doing to integrate young, international talents?

Written by: Lara Silverio


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